Had a column been written in January 2012 advocating the Yankees consider trading Manuel Banuelos, the general reaction would have been outrage. Fans love “Next!’ — the touted player who is going to be a star.
Players who have not been seen by the general public are deemed “untouchable” mainly based on rankings in publications — plus imagination and hope.
A decade later — Jan. 8, 2022 to be precise — the Yankees signed Banuelos to a minor league contract. He’ll be 31 in March and re-arrives (almost 14 years after first signing with the Yankees as a teenager) having made it into 23 major league games combined from the 2015 and 2019 seasons. His ERA was 6.31.
It’s a reminder that not every Banuelos, Jesus Montero or Ruben Rivera turns out to be the Next Mickey Mantle — a title actually once given to Rivera, whose proximity to the Hall of Fame was that he is Mariano Rivera’s cousin and was released by the Yankees in 2002 after stealing a glove and bat from Derek Jeter’s locker to sell to a memorabilia dealer.
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